behind her the moon was rising over the placid sea.
alan thrust the flower at her.
cora took the flower. “why, thank you, alan, that is very thoughtful of you.”
alan swallowed hard. “does this mean - does this mean that you forgive me?”
“of course not, alan. you know that i can never forgive you. have i not told you so repeatedly? can i make myself any clearer?”
“but i thought… i thought that with time…”
“i am sorry but neither time nor anything else can never efface your beastly and unspeakable behavior. there can be no forgiveness for the likes of you, now or ever.”
alan hung his head.
“go away, alan. and please do not bother me again, or bring me any more flowers.”
cora turned away and began contemplating the ocean .
with a sigh, alan turned and headed for the main cabin and the saloon bar.
before entering the cabin, he looked back at cora. she was chatting with her daughter.
her hands were empty. she had obviously thrown the flower over the rail.
the moonlight played softly on the steady wake of the ship.
alan went into the saloon and ordered a martini.
he got into a conversation with a man from iowa.
but after a desultory conversation about the folly of raising the minimum wage, and a slightly livelier discussion about the chances of the minnesota vikings in the upcoming nfl season, they both fell silent.
ted, joe, and molly
ted and joe were waiting in the lounge of intergalactic station 3 for their flight back to earth. the rest of the team had already departed.
ted was continuing to berate joe, blaming him for the team’s early defeat and exit from the intergalactic tournament.
joe finally had enough. he took his bat out of his bag and bashed ted’s brains out.
a couple of security guards came over and took joe into custody.
the other inhabitants of the lounge did not pay much attention. a few just laughed and muttered “these earthlings”.
joe was let go by the intergalactic authorities with a warning, and put on the next flight back to earth with an armed guard. he was prohibited from traveling intergalactically for five years.
when joe got back to earth, the only person there to meet him was molly, a girl both he and ted had dated.
when joe told molly what had happened, she was shocked, but she immediately determined to marry joe and civilize him.
and she did. she civilized him, but good. they married, and had twelve children, six boys and six girls.
the six boys all grew up to be fine young men. none of them became intergalactic athletes after leaving school, but one each entered the army, the navy, the space corps, the intergalactic police, the old church, and the new church.
the six girls all married fine young men, who were a credit to planet earth in different ways.
molly and joe had a total of twenty-eight grandchildren.
through it all, molly kept a picture of ted over the fireplace in the living room.